Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"No sharing!"

On our way to Denver, we attempted to go to the Coors Brewery in Golden, CO but it was closed (thanks a lot, website...)  Vowing to go back the next day, we continued our journey to Denver.  We absolutely loved it!  Denver is so nice with a lot to do.  After visiting here, we will definitely be adding it to our lists of possible places for a career.  We parked and headed to the first Thai restaurant we saw, Wild Bangkok.  Stuffed with delicious food, we set off to walk around the 16th Street Mall downtown.  We stopped in Niketown, Forever 21, and Starbucks (surprise, surprise).  We took a stroll to the beautiful capitol building and then back to the car to look for the University of Colorado… instead, we found Trivoli Student Union.  Thinking it was the CU hotspot we explored, we discovered that this was not the main campus for CU, and the union was actually shared with two other schools.  Not wanting to waste a trip, we set off to find the art building.  On the walk there, we found a renovated gallery that was currently displaying the work of an architect; one of his buildings turned out to be Christine’s favorite house in Palm Desert!  After enjoying student work in the art building and a quick photography moment with a campus cathedral, we headed to Melanie’s apartment.
The rest of the night was filled with reminiscing and swapping stories about studying abroad in Spain to Jess’ laughing delight.  Mel treated us to a scrumptious dinner at the Cherry Cricket in downtown Cherry Creek, a bar & grill featured on the Food Network for their burgers.
The next day Christine and Jess headed back to downtown Golden for a free tour of the Coors Brewery.   The bus took us on a mini-excursion around town to see the largest cobblestone building in the United States, the murals of the five historic town figures and the road to Buffalo Bill’s grave.  Dropping us off at Coors, we saw one of the original copper kettles that was used for fermentation back in the day (which was a Wednesday).  As usual we were questioned about the legitimacy of our licenses since our birthdays are only two days apart.  After gaining approval we set off on our audio tour around the brewery.  We were surprised by all the different brands they produce along side their biggest seller Coors Light (like Molson, Killians and Blue Moon to name a few).  During the tour we received one taste of beer and then after we had THREE FREE BEERS!  Success!  Christine tried Batch 19 (a pre-prohibition brew), Colorado Native (only available in Colorado), and Winter Fest (only available in certain test markets, of which Denver isn't one of them.  Jess tried Batch 19, Winter Fest, and Killians (yes I am already well aware of the taste of Irish Red, I couldn’t resist a free one, on tap, straight from the brewery).  After way too much money and time in the gift shop, we headed to Boulder!
Pearl Street is where it is at in Boulder!  This street is precious in appearance and jam packed of unique shops and restaurants.  Yes, the rumors are true, many hippies reside here (the summer must be hopping with people).  Our first stop on the street was a little vintage store.  Christine bought a few shirts and Jess found a knit hat and a Beatles record (YAY!)  We then enjoyed some happy hour sushi with soup and tea to warm up.  We then walked to a cute poster store where Christine found six postcards she couldn’t live without.  Unfortunately, since we are poor, we had no cash and the woman only took credit cards for $4 and up.  Well, these six postcards only cost $3, so C offered to grab a couple more cards, but the woman insisted she just have them for free!  :)  After a bit more walking around we were cold again, so the only reasonable solution Jess could think of was Starbucks.   We asked the barista if the University of Colorado was worth a stroll.  He replied, “if you are bundled for the cold” looked us up and down and added, “so no you shouldn’t go.”  Taking his advice, we headed back to the car.  Along the way we found a cool art gallery that had inspiring quotes from artists and authors all around the perimeter of the building.  To wrap up the trip we attempted to drive around campus and then headed back to Melanie’s.  For dinner we enjoyed a Mediterranean meal.
The next morning we woke up with Melanie at 6 in the morning (sweet Lord that was early).  We gathered up our things, packed the car, said our goodbyes and hit the road by 6:45 a.m.  A Starbucks stop for breakfast and we were off on the painfully dull trek across Kansas.  Rain and flat farms as far as the eye could see.  Lovely.  There was excitement on the horizon, the OZ Museum (and Winery J) so, of course, we took a detour to explore.  Just in the nick of time!  We had about fifteen minutes before it closed.  The place was full of Oz artifacts dating back to 1900 from all over the world.  There were books, posters, movies, plays, board games, shoes, and even a haunted forest.  After we got our fill, we ran through the rain to the OZ Winery.  The labels were hilarious and the were samples free. Needless to say, we pulled up a chair at the bar and quickly made friends with the girl working.  After many samples, we each bought a few bottles.  Christine got Click!, OEO, and Emerald City Lights.  Jessica bought Yellow Brick Road, Witch Gone Good, Squished Witch, and Lion’s Courage (and received a free tote!).  She then kindly recommended another winery on our way, so we stopped there too.  At this winery they have a ton of wines we had never seen, including Elderberry, Elderflower, and Rhubarb.  So good and so strange! Nothing like a couple wine tastings before a hockey game, right...?
Finally arriving in Topeka, Kansas we grabbed a smoothie at Juice Stop (HOORAY) and then headed to the rink to support RoadRunner hockey.  After a misunderstanding at will call, we found our seats and watched the boys win.  The post game party was at Old Chicago.  As Eric helped himself to the player buffet, we order our usual (beer and pizza J).  Stuffed, we headed back to Judy and Merlin’s home to catch up and hit the hay. 

The next day we woke up to Judy offering to make us breakfast (best waffles ever, thanks, Judy!)  Eric got home from the morning skate and stretch and we all headed to Panera then the movies to see the new Denzel flick Unstoppable (we definitely recommend it!) Night #2 of RoadRunners hockey was much rowdier than the first.  The most exciting part, Eric played the last seven minutes of the game after the other goalie was ejected from the game for fighting... and hitting another player with his blocker (yikes). 100% saved shots!  Great job Eric J  The RoadRunners pulled off another win, with many fights to entertain the crowd.  After we headed to the Blind Tiger to celebrate the victory and once again ordered way too much food.    Exhausted, we all headed to bed.

On our last morning some of us had a bit more trouble getting out of bed than others...  At last we were ready to go to lunch at HuHot (like BD’s Mongolian Grill).  Jess unfortunately, spent most of the meal comparing it to her old place of employment.  HuHot wins the seating battle with more space and booth options and on scrumptious Asian-themed appetizers, but Mongo wins on sauce, market area choices in general, and entertainment (they used spatulas at the grill - lame).  After a few errands we headed back to the house to say our goodbyes and to bring flowers for Judy’s birthday J  Sad to get back on the road we definitely dragged our feet, not leaving until 4:30 in the afternoon.  Whoops.  See you in St. Louis!

Memorable Quotes:
M: "I didn't like beer until I became a teacher."


J: "Can I just have half a glass of Killians?"
Coors Bartender: "Sure! Want me to fill up the top half?"

J: (to Christine) "Gotchya!"
C: "I was in the picture?!"
Hippie: "Don't take a picture of me until I put my face on!"

Coors rule: "NO SHARING!" 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pure dirt, pure fruit. That's what it's all about.

You'll see this arch later :)
Moab, Utah turned out to be surprisingly nice.  We scored a sweet deal on a great hotel room and were right down the street from Arches National Park.  The woman working the entrance of the park was so excited to be working and very helpful (no, we aren’t being sarcastic for once) which made us even more excited to explore.  We were able to check out a few exhibits before hitting the road again, including Balanced Rock - so crazy seeing a HUGE boulder that appears as though it will fall on you as you walk the trail around it!  Turns out, it will fall in a few hundred years, (like the rock that used to be it’s neighbor) since the rock that makes up the support system erodes at a faster pace than the rock that the boulder itself is composed of.  After a windy walk and a few pictures, we set off for the main attraction, Delicate Arch.  We opted for the vista point trail to save time, which ended up being about a mile hike.  A friendly hiker advised us to continue past the trail to the edge of the “huge slab of rock”…  well, the edge of that rock was the valley right next to the arch.  It felt like we were on the edge of the world.

After driving through the breathtaking Rocky Mountains an hour longer than anticipated, we arrived at the new home of Meredith in Gypsum, Colorado!  Greeted with screams and hugs, we spent the night catching up.  We met up with Derrick and headed out to dinner at one of the fine establishments of Eagle, Colorado.  After a beer, delicious bar food, and cowboys we headed home.
Yin and Yang

The next day, Meredith headed off to work and we planned on hiking around Hanging Lake, a lake nestled in the mountains.  Unfortunately, by the time we got our behinds out of bed and loaded up on Starbucks, a snowstorm had taken up residence in our area.  Seeing as our hiking skills aren’t exactly that of an experienced climber in such weather conditions, we decided to head to Aspen instead. What a cute ski village!   We parked and wandered the streets that were home to thrift shops and Gucci.  We popped into Peter Lik’s photography studio and were quickly informed that he is the latest top photographer in the world (Jess will definitely be watching his upcoming television appearance).  

We also had the great pleasure of finding a wine shop (leave that to us, right?)  The Colorado-native worker was such a blast.  When he asked if we were looking for anything in particular, Jess simply answered, “Honestly, something from Colorado and that has a cool label”.  Boy, did he deliver.  We found a great bottle for Meredith from a local winery just up the road from her home, a bottle for Melanie from Spain and a couple of bottles for ourselves.  Our last stop in Aspen was Peach’s, a cute cafĂ© on the corner with a great view of the ski resort, where they served chicken soup like mom makes; perfect for a cold Colorado day!

That night we headed out for a night on the town.  We met up with Derrick after he had a day of skiing (so jealous!) and wandered around downtown Vail.  Unfortunately, a lot of the shops were closed since the ski resort isn’t open yet.  We did manage, however, to entertain ourselves in the touristy shops and investigated the ski gear.  Expecting to see the Polar Express as we rounded each Christmas-like corner, we settled in a bar for a few beers and entertaining segments on ESPN. 

Switching to another bar, we received cards for the pub-crawl and enjoyed delicious food.  Backtracking to the first bar to get our well-earned stamps, we then attempted to go to the whiskey bar, which was closed to Christine’s disappointment.  So we hit our last bar (never making it to all eight needed to win a ski mask), where we met locals, worked on crossword puzzles, and watched the UFC fights on TV (well, sort of) as the Av’s lost.  We said, “bye, bye, bye” to Derrick and then the three of us went back to Meredith’s house to hang out with Ricky Bobby (the stuffed bobcat).

The next morning, we woke up as Meredith left for work to say our unfortunate goodbyes until Christmas.  Next stop, Denver!

Memorable Quotes:

C: "what's the state slogan for Utah?"
J: "I don't know, 'Mormonism!'?"


The Wine Man: “Wicked juice!”

D: “…But to you I’m saying, ‘Hello, hello, hello’!”

J: “Cheers to Marcus …who?”
M: “Dupree!”
J: “Like Jermaine!”

Bartender: “It’s casual mustache Tuesday.”

Bartender: “It’s all in the beard, warms the synapses.”

C: “Must be a slow sports night…”

D: “Look at those nostrils…he probably doesn’t have to blow his nose, his boogers just fall out.”

M: (In reference to The Great Bud v. Bud Light Debate)  “I’ll bet my life on this beer being Bud Light…I’ll bet our relationship!... …because it is my life?”

M: "Bob Barker reminding you: help control the pet population. Have your pet spayed or neutered.  Goodbye, everyone!"

Monday, November 8, 2010

"... did you add the water?"

Sad to leave California, we set out sights on Scottsdale, Arizona.  A very flat, dry and boring 4.5 hour drive later, we arrived at Christine’s aunt & uncle’s BEAUTIFUL home in Desert Mountain.  Happy for the change in scenery and elevation, we enjoyed a delicious dinner before hitting the hay.

The next morning, the Glassbergs gave us a tour of the Desert Mountain community and we grabbed some coffee from the awesome C4 coffee shop.  We also drove through the city of Carefree to see the famous intersection of Ho and Hum streets.  Unfortunately, Barb and Andy had to head back to Michigan for an event, leaving us later that evening.  As we watched the sunset over Phoenix from the hot tub and ate the rest of last night’s scrumptious leftovers, we wondered what we were going to do without warm weather…

Upon leaving Scottsdale, we were Grand Canyon-bound! Along the way, we sidetracked to Sedona to see the famous Red Rocks Park, where, you guessed it, the scenery is a gorgeous shade of red from the mineral deposits in the soil.  From there, we proceeded to the Grand Canyon, where we JUST barely entered the South Rim of the park before sunset.  The lighting isn’t exactly what we were expecting, but, hey, we still made great time.

The next morning was full of exploring the SPECTACULAR South Rim of the Canyon.  Upon first glance, we both absolutely fell in love with the scenery.  We’re still awe-struck by the massive scale of the Canyon (it’s almost a 200-mile drive from the South Rim entrance to the North Rim) and are convinced it’s something every American should see.  It’s so hard trying to put so many miles of postcard-esque scenery into words and our pictures will never do it justice.

Like Glacier National Park, a single street directs traffic to a series of viewing points within the park, allowing us to see the Canyon from multiple angles.  Of course, being the adventurous explorers that we are, we didn’t stick to the marked trails and ventured out on our own.   A few highlights for us included seeing the Colorado River that has sculpted the Canyon over time, hiking down one of the trailheads and wandering into the Watch Tower. 

Crossing Arizona, we entered the large Indian Reservation that occupies the entire northeastern portion of the state, known as Navajo Nation, although other tribes also have reservations in the area. Navajo Nation apparently didn’t love us as much as we loved it.  For the first time, about 11,000 miles into the trip, we were pulled over… not by a city cop, not by a county officer, not by a state trooper, but by a Native American, Navajo Nation patrolman   As he politely asked Jess to step out of the car, he chatted her up as he called in her license information (since Navajo National patrol cars aren’t equipped with computers) as his drug dogs scrambled around the back seat, scaring the life out of poor J.  Despite cruising an estimated 15mph over the speed limit, we’re happy to announce that we’re still ticket-free, even though Jess was issued a formal warning for the first time in her driving career, bringing Jess’ tally to 5 times being pulled over, 0 tickets issued.

Escaping Navajo Nation, we headed eastward to the only spot in the United States where you can be in four places simultaneously – the Four Corners monument!  We we stood in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado at the same time (even though the monument is in New Mexico and we’ve heard rumors that the monument location isn’t geographically correct).  Despite being in the middle of nowhere, we’re happy we stopped.

From there, we traveled to Moab, Utah in search of our next hotel.  Until then!

Memorable Quotes

J:  "technically, it's eating in..."

C: "what do you suppose one trades at a trading post?"
J: "NOT husbands!"

C: "good thing we weren't doing anything else illegal..."
J: "... like what?!"
C: "i don't know... talking on the phone or something...:

Friday, November 5, 2010


Well, the second half of our stay in La Quinta has gone by far too quickly for our liking.  After our tram trip, Christine planned a trip back to, of all places, Detroit.  Before we knew it, Jess was dropping Christine off at the airport for a trip to Michigan to interview with Team Detroit.

Christine had the worst flight of her entire life back from Phoenix to Detroit. Not only was it the redeye, which only worsened the jetlag, but she was seated next to a child. Knowing how C feels about children, being seated next to one was obviously bad enough.  What made it worse was that it SCREAMED the entire 3.5 hours home (literally, the entire flight) and the parents didn’t know what deodorant was.  So bad, in fact, was the stench that the people seated in the row behind us passed up a bottle of Axe… it didn’t go over so well.

Bright and early the next morning, C crabbily got in the car and headed to Ann Arbor to visit her brother Jeff, cousin Sarah, and friends Eric and Danielle.  After seeing more than enough blue and yellow, she decided the next day that East Lansing was the only remedy.  Lunch and coffee with Kristy was great – and so are her plans to build a new home – congrats!  C also wandered MSU’s BEAUTIFUL campus with Jon and picked up Miss Mary from class and headed to our fav hangout spot, Biggby (obviously).

Day #3 at home was interview day, as C was Dearborn-bound for a second-round interview with Team Detroit – an ad agency made up of five separate WPP agencies specializing in different facets of advertising and public relations.  She got the job!

During these same four days back in the desert, Jessica exhausted her ability to entertain herself.  Without Christine, things in La Quinta seemed pretty dull.  Let’s just say these four days involved a lot of takeout, Target runs, cable, yoga, pool time and pumpkin carving.  (When Christine got back the pumpkin had become slightly moldy on the inside.  She didn't see the humor in this.)

After that trip we had about a week and a half left in Palm Desert.  We spent most of them at the pool attempting to soak up as much sun as possible in hopes that we will still be tan upon our return to Michigan. 

For our last Saturday in bliss, we went on a morning hike through a nature preserve.  Jess and Christine showed up at the information station to meet their fellow hikers.  Upon arrival we were a tad intimidated by the other hikers, all of who were much more experienced, prepared and… elderly.  After signing a waiver, we all set off on a hike through the canyon that held part of a bighorn sheep preserve.  Unfortunately, we never saw a sheep, but we did see a lot of desert salamanders and a hare.  We also learned a lot about the area and the plants.  John, our fearless guide, literally knew EVERYTHING.  We ate flowers that tasted like cucumbers, learned about different species of cacti and the “wait-a-minute” bush (nicknamed this due to its thorns’ ability to keep people from passing if they got to close).  We hiked to the top of the waterfall and then back just in time to make it to the sports bar to watch the MSU football game against Iowa (we don’t want to talk about it).  We said goodbye to our Ohio State friends and then headed back to the house for more pool time (no we do not want to talk about the game). 

Jess took her last sunrise adventure to Joshua Tree National Park.  She left much earlier than last time, around 4:30 a.m. so that she would be able to get to the Joshua Trees by sunrise this time (since they are only located in the northern portion of the park).  Unfortunately, her no-sleep-plus-Starbucks-jitters made the creepy trip out there by herself a tad more difficult; the smoke bushes were blowing in the wind and hares were running across the street.  Needless to say,  Jess wasn’t feeling it.  So change of plans, off to the Salton Sea!  It was in the middle of nowhere, but it was unique.  Her feet were cut up thanks to what she thought were seashells, turns out that they were small salt formations that looked a bit like barnacles.  Along with the salt, the beach was also full of dead fish.  White birds were all along the coast, pelicans, sea gulls, and egrets.  Definitely glad she went. 

Our last big adventure in southern California was a trip to Los Angeles to see the Jimmy Kimmel Live! Anberlin concert.  We decided to drive out there a bit early to get dinner and then scoot on over in time to get a good spot in line. 

The Mexican restaurant, Yuca’s, we had picked out using reviews from TripAdvsior.com was supposed to be the fifth best restaurant in L.A.  It was a hut in a parking lot… how does no one mention that in their review?!  The food was great though, haha.  No but seriously, the tacos were delicious and cheap.  The bummer was that it didn’t waste nearly enough time, as we planned on a standard, sit-down Mexican restaurant, so we journeyed over towards the concert location and found parking and, most importantly, a bar.  After a couple of margaritas and witty discussion over the integrity of the Hard Rock Cafe with a bartender who thought Christine was his little sister, we headed towards Jimmy Kimmel’s studio.  After waiting in line for a bit and going through metal detectors we were ready for a great show!

The band was so grateful for the showing of dedicated fans as Stephen told the crowd, “this is a night I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”  Anberlin played their single “Impossible” to close out the Jimmy Kimmel Show, then played four other songs (two new, two old) in a mini-concert for fans.  (To watch the concert yourself please click: http://abc.go.com/watch/clip/jimmy-kimmel-live/SH005455790000/PL5520981/VD5595518/anberlin---we-owe-this-to-ourselves/moments)

For our last day we woke up super early (haha) and headed to the nail salon for mani-pedis J  Next we picked up some sushi at Sam’s Sushi (apparently this is the spot where the young people go…perfect timing discovering that on the last day).  After delicious food, we enjoyed the pool with margaritas and beer to celebrate our journey and Christine’s success.

Dear Michigan,

See you soon.  Jess is terribly sad she missed fall but now she is tan (well for her) so she doesn’t completely regret it.  Hopefully we will make up this winter with a white Christmas and skiing.  Christine is very excited for the beginning of her career, and didn’t miss you very much at all.

Until Arizona!


Christine and Jess

Memorable Quotes:

C: “I think it’s right around this corner…”
John (tour guide): “What? A bird’s nest?”
C: “No… a people nest…”

Anonymous: “that took awkward to a WHOLE new level.”

Hiker 1: “how did that get here?” (Referring to naturally occurring desert plant known for causing hallucinations)
Hiker 2: “Prop 19.”